When I came
over to Britain some 13 years ago, I found a very tolerant place.
I was amazed to see so many people of so many colours, not just
living together in peace, but living in full harmony. At Essex
University, the institute where I was doing my postgraduate studies,
everyone was enthusiastic about post-colonialism. The Brits, so
it seemed to me at the time, were repenting over their embarrassing
colonial past. I was mildly impressed but not totally overwhelmed.
At the end of the day, it isnt that difficult to denounce
your grandfathers crimes.
I was amazed
to see Turks and Cypriots running grocery shops side by side in
Green Lane. My first roommate was a Palestinian M.A. student from
Beit Sahour, it all felt natural. It didnt take long before
I fell in love with the town and decided to make it into my permanent
At the time,
Britain was very different from the place I came from. In my homeland
the human landscape was officially reduced into two types. In
a manner of crude binary opposition there was always a clear division
between the Good and the Bad, the us
and the them, the West and the East
or just the Jews and the Arabs. In the
place I came from, peace couldnt even be seen on the horizon.
But in the London of the 1990s, there was no such dichotomy. Painfully
enough, this has changed. On a daily basis our media outlets repeat
the idiotic question: "Why do they hate us so much?"
By now it is rather clear, the binary opposition between us
and them has made it into an integral part of the
British discourse as well.
When I moved
over in the early 1990s, British politics was very boring. John
Major was in power. But then, not before long, a young, dynamic,
visionary politician removed him from office. This politician
is a man who has managed in just 10 years to demolish one of the
most harmonious societies in the West. Tony Blair, the great new
Labour promise, had been running the country for a decade; he
managed to drag this country into every possible conflict, and
to escalate minor conflict to crisis levels. He has managed to
lie repeatedly to his people, his parliament and his cabinet,
he has launched an illegal war that cost over 700,000 innocent
civilian lives. He obviously failed to see the impact those wars
may have on his multi-ethnic society at home.
just left the PM office, thank God for that, however, this country
is now on the brink of moral collapse. Its civil rights system
is under severe threat. Politicians of all parties are calling
for tougher detention laws. The possibility of mass deportation
of new immigrants doesnt look like a remote nightmare. Yet,
most worrying is the role of the free media in this
country. The leading papers and TV are succumbing quite willingly
to the official Government line of thinking. Its something
that reminds me too much of the recruited media in my doomed homeland,
the place I left 13 years ago.
than raising the pathetic
question, why do they hate us?
wed better evade our self-righteous
mode, and ask ourselves,
why do we hate them so much?
or even, why do we hate so much?
I find myself
wondering, how dare the media ask why do they hate us?
Dont they know the answer? Dont we know the answer?
Werent we the ones who demolished Iraq? Wasnt it our
PM, Tony Blair, who gave a green light to the Israelis to flatten
Lebanon? Wasnt it Tony Blairs government who dismissed
the democratically elected Hamas in Palestine? Wasnt it
Blair who allowed the Israelis to starve Gaza?
those who still fail to realise, to kill is rather simple, to
turn towns into piles of rubble isnt that complicated either.
Yet, to raise a child may take a few years, to build a city takes
hundreds of years and to establish harmony between human beings
takes thousand of years. We should stop lying to others and to
ourselves. We know perfectly well why they hate us, they have
some good reasons, as things stand momentarily, we are the ones
who are killing them en mass. It is us who demolish their towns
and kill their kids.
than raising the pathetic question, why do they hate us?
wed better evade our self-righteous mode, and ask ourselves,
why do we hate them so much? or even, why do
we hate so much? in general.
peace to London, Glasgow, Britain and the West is to look in the
mirror, to look into our severe and devastating wrongdoings, to
repair the damage made by Blair, Bush and company, to revise the
dream of ecumenical Western society. It is possible. It is within
our capacity. We have been just there not that long ago. I remember
it very well, it was only 13 years ago, I felt it when I landed
Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli
military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is
also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe.
His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by
the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: [email protected].
Visit his website http://www.gilad.co.uk.
here to order Gilad Atzmon's CDs and books.
by Gilad Atzmon:
Tony Blair On Work Release
Between Good And Evil
And What About The Palestinian Cause?
Pour Out Your Fury Upon The People Of Lebanon And Gaza
The Tyranny Of Pronouns
The Myth Of
The Open Society: The Politics Of Auschwitz
And Other Marginal Thoughts
Liberating The American People, by Philip Cheah